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Disney+ Review: The Santa Clauses (First Two Episodes)

November 14, 2022

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Tim Allen is back as Scott Calvin, the single dad who inexplicably took up the mantle of Santa Claus, in the new Disney+ limited series The Santa Clauses, which is having its two-episode premiere this week.

Building on the trilogy of films that began in 1994 with The Santa Clause, this six-part series begins with Calvin as an aging Santa Claus doing his rounds with elf Noel (Devin Bright), but facing a deficit of Christmas spirit that is impacting his magic abilities.

Scott is living at the North Pole with his wife Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) and their two teenage kids Cal (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen Dick), but is thinking about throwing in the towel now that he is turning 65, and training a replacement.

Scott wants to show his kids a more normal family life. Besides, the North Pole has changed somewhat with the times to become more politically correct, with certain elves no longer even wanting to classify kids as “naughty,” and putting them on the “misunderstood list” instead. Kal Penn also stars in the series as Simon Choksi, an entrepreneur and single father who is struggling to get his drone delivery service off the ground.

Directed by Jason Winer (Modern Family), the first two half-hour episodes of The Santa Clauses – Chapter One: Good to Ho and Chapter Two: The Secessus Clause (which are all I was able to preview for review) – provide a decent continuation of the franchise. The show does a fine job of capturing the tone of the movies, with a lot of little callbacks, even if it’s slightly closer to the two sequels, 2002’s The Santa Clause 2 and 2006’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, than it is the classic 1990s original.

From these first two episodes, which have a bit of a sitcom feel to them, I do wonder if The Santa Clauses would have been better served and able to build up more momentum as a feature film instead of a more drawn out series that makes us wait a week between episodes, when a lot of viewers will probably just wait to binge-watch the whole thing anyway. That said, it is fun to see Allen back in this role, and The Santa Clauses sets itself up as a pretty enjoyable series that provides some nice and light holiday viewing for fans of the movies.

The first two episodes of will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+ as of November 16th, with the remaining four episodes being released weekly on Wednesdays until December 14th.

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